The South Bay Lakers are prepared for a bounce-back yr

From 2015 to 2018, the South Bay Lakers — previously referred to as the Los Angeles D-Fenders — had made the playoffs three seasons in a row, together with one G League Finals look.

That streak ended final season, as South Bay wasn’t near sniffing the playoffs, ending ninth within the Western Convention with a file of 21-29. Andre Ingram, who’s about to start out in his 12th season within the G League, was fairly candid on the finish of final season once I requested him if that season had felt any totally different from others.

“Yeah, loads totally different. Simply team-wise, we weren’t as profitable man, that’s the drag of all of it. It was a troublesome season. Not making the playoffs, we hadn’t finished that in a very long time,” Ingram stated. “(There have been) nonetheless a pair vibrant spots for many people as people, however collectively, simply disappointing.”

By individually, Andre presumably meant how the Los Angeles Lakers known as up a number of gamers final season, reminiscent of Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams (two-way contracts), Scott Machado, Andre Ingram, and Jemerrio Jones. Strikes like which might be clearly nice for the person gamers, however powerful for the group, who often might use the blokes which might be ok to get known as up for an NBA shot.

That’s the dichotomy of the G League: Gamers are all making an attempt to get to the following stage individually, however need to work as a collective unit whereas they’re doing it.

Everybody from the gamers to the followers realize it’s onerous to say how a season may go earlier than it begins, however this yr, South Bay has a really gifted roster that might see loads of success, even when just a few strikes are made in the course of the season.

NBA: Preseason-Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers

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Nevertheless South Bay does, it gained’t be and not using a little crossover from its father or mother group. There are two Lakers on two-way contracts this season (Zach Norvell Jr. and Kostas Antetokounmpo), whereas rookie Talen Horton-Tucker is predicted to spend loads of time growing in South Bay as nicely.

Each Norvell and Antetokounmpo made names for themselves within the preseason. In a recreation towards the Warriors (whom the Lakers performed 4 out of the six preseason video games towards), Kostas had a team-high 5 blocks. In that very same recreation, Norvell scored 29 factors and went 5 of ten from three. Norvell additionally infamously broke Jordan Poole’s ankles in two separate video games.

Once I requested Norvell if he’s been watching these replays at South Bay’s Media Day this week, he chuckled and admitted he’s watched the clips “right here and there when it might pop up on my timeline.” He additionally stated members of the family have been sending him the video, which he thinks is fairly cool.

However it’s not all younger guys. Like their father or mother group, South Bay has veterans on its roster, reminiscent of returning gamers Andre Ingram, Travis Put on, Marcus Allen, and Gary Payton II (who final performed for the group in the course of the 2017-18 season). It was a recurring theme from the younger guys at South Bay’s media day to say that it’s vital to study as a lot as they will from the veterans.

“We bought a bunch of older guys on each groups thats been across the league been across the recreation for some time,” Norvell stated. “So i’ve been simply making an attempt to be a sponge and take in all of the data they’ve for the sport.”

Having a veteran mentor is basically vital for a younger participant early on in there profession, however there’s a particular case with this Lakers group crammed with veterans to study from. That’s been the case for Talen Horton-Tucker, who says loads of gamers on the father or mother roster have been giving him recommendation.

“All of the older guys, they attempt to maintain me on the fitting path, displaying me the fitting issues to do.” Horton-Tucker stated.

2019-20 South Bay Lakers Media Day

Photograph by Will Navarro/NBAE through Getty Photos

Such mentorship will likely be particularly vital for Horton-Tucker, who at 18 is likely one of the youngest gamers within the NBA, and is taking part in catch-up due to lacking the entire preseason and summer time league because of a stress response in his proper foot. At Media Day, Talen shared the information that he was cleared to play.

However as a lot expertise as South Bay has this season, there’s one potential problem that comes into focus when wanting on the roster: The dearth of dimension. South Bay’s tallest participant on the roster is Antetokounmpo, at 6’10. The second tallest participant is Travis Put on (6’9), adopted by Devontae Cacok and Jordan Caroline (each 6’7). With a dimension distinction like that, will probably be vital for South Bay to play at a excessive tempo and shoot a excessive proportion from the 3-point line. They’re going to need to make groups play to their dimension, as a result of they don’t have the dimensions to play at others. It’s unknown what South Bay’s beginning lineup will likely be, or how the rotations will go, however it might be vital to search for a giant man sooner or later.

With the dimensions disparity the Lakers have, they’ll need to forge good group chemistry with the intention to belief one another defensively, and on a latest journey to the seaside, they might have began to construct it when Stockton was stung by a stingray and requested teammate (and SoCal native) Put on for recommendation.

“I simply jumped over the wave and felt like one thing squishy, after which instantly after it simply jabbed me and I used to be like oh,” Stockton stated. “Trav Put on informed me he’s bought stung by one and it’s regular, so I didn’t freak out too dangerous.”

To paraphrase the coach from dodgeball, in case you can deal with a stingray wound, you’ll be able to belief one another on protection, so if that’s not the beginning of some promising group chemistry, I don’t know what’s.

South Bay’s season opener is tonight, wherein they’ll taking over the Oklahoma Metropolis Blue at 5:00 p.m. PST.

All quotes obtained firsthand. For extra Lakers speak, subscribe to the Silver Display screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

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